Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Biriyan (hulled urad/urid daal)

This is a dish my grandma used to cook and I learnt it from my sister in law.  It is not one you are likely to see in many Indian restaurants, but is totally sensational...I love it!

You are not likely to find this daal in many English supermarkets but it is worth the journey to the Indian shop.

It is very quick to cook and can be cooked vegan although I prefer it made with ghee.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • I cup of hulled Urid/Urad daal, washed.  Wash the daal well in a sieve until the water runs clear.
Tarka - We cook the daal and tarka separately and then combine them.
  • 3tbsp Light olive oil or (Ghee-clarified butter if you are making this vegetarian)
  • 1/2 Chopped onion
  • 1 fresh green chilli chopped (the more you put in the hotter it gets)  Optional
  • 1 tsp Cumin/ Jeera
  • 1/2 tsp Oragano seeds/ Ajowan seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 1 tsp Turmeric/ Haldi
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Hand full of fresh chopped coriander


  1. Once it is washed add it to a pan and top up with water 1 " above the level of the daal. and cook on a medium heat for 15-20mins or until it is cooked so a grain mashes between your fingers but NOT mashy in the pan, each grain should be separate and defined still so you have to keep a close eye on it. Once it has got to this point drain any extra water off and switch off heat and cover.
    While this cooks we can prepare our Tarka.
  2. In a second pan add your oil/ghee, set the pan at a slow heat add your cumin seeds and ajowan seeds, when they begin to crackle add your onion.
  3. Cook the onion till it is light brown and then add your chilli, stirring frequently.
  4. Once the mix is caramel coloured, add your dry spices and salt, you have now made your tarka.
  5. Add the tarka to your daal pot!  Add a little of the daal liquor to your tarka pan to make sure you get all the yummy spices and oil off and add back to the daal pot. Stir carefully not smashing the daal up.
  6. Unlike all the other daals do NOT continue to cook this together as the mix will go mushy, which is still tasty but looses the nutty texture.
  7. Last stage is to add your coriander and serve with rice or roti and enjoy! 

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